Monday, March 20

Instagram Bookbinding Challenge: February / Peace

I've been participating in an online bookbinding community challenge, where each month bookmakers from around the world challenge themselves to create a book on a chosen theme for the month. The theme for February was Peace. If you are on Instagram, search the hashtag #areyoubookenough to find all the amazing creations of participating artists. Prepare yourself to be inspired!

When the theme was announced, the words of the hymn "When Peace Like a River" kept going through my head, so I just went with it! I wanted to make a Star Book with the words cut out on the pages. I used a star book kit from Quietfire Design, that I was gifted many years ago. Using the kit helped me focus on the paper cutting and not worry about the construction details. The picture above shows everything that was included in the kit.

I started by counting the letters and dividing it by the number of pages, so I'd know how many words/letters to fit on each page. They flow from one word to the next without spaces. After drawing them out on graph paper, I transferred the design on each dark (navy) page to the back of  each page with white pencil crayon, and then cut out the negative space around the letters.

While the pencil marks were on the wrong side, I wanted to erase as much as possible for a cleaner finish. I tried all of these tools: tape, kneaded eraser, white vinyl eraser, and black vinyl eraser. Guess which worked the best? The black vinyl eraser!

I love how the light plays with the letters on each individual page! I've filed this idea away for future book ideas...

Assembling the book was relatively easy with the clear instructions provided in the kit. First, gluing the covers.

Sewing the structural pages together with a link stitch.

Adding the rest of the layers of pages...

Putting the finished book... my very expensive high tech book press.

And then it's done!

Don't forget to check out the hashtag #areyoubookenough on Instagram to see all the amazing books made on the same thing by bookbinders around the world!

Thursday, March 2

Instagram Bookbinding Challenge: January / Light

I've been participating in an online bookbinding community challenge, where each month bookmakers from around the world challenge themselves to create a book on a chosen theme for the month. The theme for January was Light. If you are on Instagram, search the hashtag #areyoubookenough to find all the amazing creations of participating artists. Prepare yourself to be inspired!

For myself, I was inspired by a stack of rainbow coloured Canson Mi-Teintes artists papers I had saved for a few years, intending to make a rainbow book one day. What is light, if not the beautiful spectrum of colours before us?

Don't these torn sheets look gorgeous in this stack? I was tempted to stop there. Sometimes it's hard to use up beautiful supplies!

After cutting and folding and grouping the pages into signatures, I started on the covers. I wanted to make a softcover book with a simple stitched rainbow on the cover. I chose the cover fabric from my stash, because I'm all about using up, recycling, and making do with what you have: a black wool suiting fabric for the outside and a grey wool for the inside.

Choosing thread colours--yup, all the colours of the rainbow are there!

To make the covers a little stiffer, I used a sturdy interfacing between the layers. In this case, I found this crazy vegetable printed interfacing in my stash (not sure where I picked that up!), and started stitching my rainbow.

I was delighted to find a vintage spool of black linen thread in my supplies, and used it to bind my books.

I think the prism button finishes it off nicely, don't you?

I made a limited edition of four of these books, and they are now available in my PrairiePeasant Etsy shop.

Saturday, August 8

Ironing Board Makeover

It all started with a special request for my husband to build me a board that fits over my standard ironing board to make a larger surface for ironing large pieces of fabric, quilts, etc.

I requested a board 22" wide by 60" long, which he made for me to fit snuggly over the ironing board so it doesn't need any screws or knobs to hold it in place.

It was up to me to pad and cover it as I wished. I had several metres of this purple cotton striped fabric in my stash which I thought would work just fine. First I cut two layers of quilt batting (Warm & Natural cotton) and then the fabric. I used a staple gun all around the bottom to hold it tightly in place.

Then I decided all my other ironing tools needed a makeover as well. I have two small sleeve boards whose very worn vintage covers needed replacing and then I tackled my regular ironing board. I used the existing ironing board cover as a pattern and that worked very well.

It was only after recovering them all that I noticed that they even matched my new iron! I'm not a matchy-matchy person, but it does look nice.

Sunday, May 24

Craft Year 2015

2015 is Craft Year in Canada! Click on the picture above for more information. From the website: 

"Craft Year is a year-long, nation-wide festival aimed at promoting craft as a key player in Canadian Culture. The type of events we are looking for can include craft exhibitions, fairs, book launches, open houses, conferences, workshops, competitions, publications, community events and more. All events registered for Craft Year 2015 will be displayed here on our website for the whole world to see."

There are a lot of events listed on the page, but unfortunately they are not listed by province or date (other than by month). Check with your local craft council regarding events being held in your area. I attended a Pecha Kucha night on the theme of craft about a week ago. Most of the speakers were excellent and drew me in to their creative world whether they were blacksmiths, woodworkers, spinners or students!

Click on the photo above to read the Manifesto of all Citizens of Craft. If you are reading this page, then you are one too! Welcome aboard!

Sunday, April 19

Fabric Labels

Last week I had a sweet little package arrive in the mail! After trying a few things and a lot of stalling, I finally decided on getting some woven labels made up for my coiled items. I wanted some way to identify that "I made it" after it leaves my shop.

I'm pretty happy with how these turned out! I spent the weekend sewing them into most of my already made products and figuring out where the best placement of the label would be. In the future, I plan on sewing them in as I go.

If you are a Maker, do you label/sign your products? and if so, how do you do it?

Friday, April 10

WEST Handmade and Vintage Sale VII

The Winnipeg Etsy team sales keep getting better and better! And this one promises to be no exception to the rule. Follow along on the team blog or on the facebook event to see a preview of the great vendors that will be selling their wares at this year's spring sale. It's hard to believe it's only 3 weeks away!

Monday, March 30

Gypsy Bohemian Coiled Tote

Here are some pictures of my latest fabric coiled tote bag in progress.

It started in a very ordinary way, looking like one of my average sized coiled baskets.

Detail of the stitching.

But it kept growing bigger and bigger. Here it is looking a lot like a prairie landscape, which I quite like, and might just have to make another basket that ends here!

Still needs to be bigger, so adding more colours.... 

Checking out the placement for the straps with twill tape.

Deconstructing this old leather jacket for pieces to use for the straps.

And the finished bag!

It's available in my PrairieThreads Etsy shop for purchase here.

Saturday, March 21

Handmade Papermaking

I've been playing around with handmade paper lately, hoping to make some sheets nice enough to bind into some books.

It all starts with scraps of paper I save in a bin, including bits of maps. These get shredded with my paper shredder, and then soaked in water, at least overnight.

The buckets have different shades of the same colour, so it's unpredictable what colour the paper will be when finished.

Soaked paper is then run through the blender, to make pulp. Wet pulp is not very pretty, and surprisingly, maps end up a rather dull grey! I mixed this with the blue pulp and it turned out a lighter blue (see below).

The mold and deckle is slipped through the wet pulp to get some of the pulp to settle on the mesh screen.

I like recycling paper to make new paper because the results are more unpredictable, although you can buy premade cotton or abaca pulp to get started. For the above sheets and the green sheets below, I didn't process the pulp very long in the blender, so bits of paper and the odd inked letter remained in the pulp.

For the mustard yellow sheets, I processed the pulp for a longer time in the blender, resulting in a more uniform looking pulp.

I'm having fun experimenting. Stay tuned to see more paper experiments, and what I might decide to do with this paper!